Blog Entry

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

Posted on: September 13, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 12:08 pm
Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

What player makes a Durant-like leap into a new stratosphere?

Everyone wants to crown the next great NBA player. But going from solid star player on your team, to recognized NBA wide superstar is a different story.

Kevin Durant won the Rookie of the Year award, then followed that season up with a quality second season. Most folks thought he'd be the next big thing, they just weren't sure when. But his third season was a leap of another kind.

Durant became the NBA's youngest scoring champion at 21 years old, took his previous 23-win team to 50, got his group to the playoffs, pushed the eventual champions as hard as anyone and also finished second in the MVP voting. Durant in 2009-10 appeared on national TV only four times (not including the playoffs). Going into this season, he's rapidly becoming one of the faces of the league as he's slated to be on the big stage 26 times.

And after this summer's performance in Turkey, well, some are even elevating Durant to the top of the heap. But that's a whole other story.

We're asking what player could be next. Not the next Durant, but the next player to go from borderline star to the next level. Maybe he's already an All-Star. But is he a superstar? Who could be the next guy mentioned along with the top players in the league? Five candidates:

Tyreke Evans, Kings
- Last season's Rookie of the Year definitely had his moments. He averaged 20.1 ppg (odd, that's exactly what Durant averaged when he won Rookie of the Year...), shot 46 percent from the floor and dished out nearly six assists a game. Evans blew people away with his ability to get to the rim and with a reportedly improved jumper, he might be unguardable .

Now his hangup is that he doesn't officially have a position. Most can't figure out if he's a point guard, a shooting guard or something that we don't even know about. No bother though, because Evans is going to get points wherever he plays.

Now can he get to the next level? He absolutely has the ability to. But what really began to take Durant up was how his elevated play improved his team. That will be crucial for Evans. If the Kings are in the basement again this year, it doesn't really matter what Evans is doing. But if he plays well and the Kings win, he could certainly be an All-Star.

Derrick Rose, Bulls - The world is waiting. Waiting on Derrick Rose to become what we know he can be. He's the kind of player that reveals glimpses, flashes, small tastes of just how ridiculously good he can be.

But he hasn't been able to put it together for a consistent period of time.

Now however, Rose has the best supporting cast he's had yet. He no longer has to be point guard, creator and scorer all wrapped into one. He can relax and pass off to Carlos Boozer. He can penetrate and kick to Kyle Korver . Or his still can take games over all by himself.

Greatness awaits Derrick Rose. It's just a matter of when he breaks out. And I'm guessing this year.

Russell Westbrook, Thunder
- Before you dismiss, consider Westbrook's stats: 16.1 ppg , 8.0 apg and 4.9 rpg . Only one other player in the league averaged at least 16-8-5. His name? LeBron James.

Westbrook had a case to make the All-Star team last season with Chris Paul out and Deron Williams pulling out at the last minute. Jason Kidd got the hometown bid, but Westbrook was right there. His game has steadily improved since he came into the league two seasons ago without a position. He has a jumpshot that's improved, he handles the game like a legit point man and he's probably the fastest end-to-end player in the league.

No matter what, Westbrook will be overshadowed by Durant, but with Durant's high profile, his teammates' rise as well. Durant's not the only guy getting all those appearances on national TV. Westbrook impressed people that hadn't seen him much in Turkey with his athletic ability and his lack of fear. The more people see him, the more blown away they'll be.

Rudy Gay, Grizzlies - Sometimes big money can make a guy complacent. Sometimes though, it can motivate him to prove people wrong.

A lot of fans, media and heck, even Rudy Gay himself, were shocked with his massive contract extension. And Gay has had to hear how he wasn't worthy of the big payday. Either he can be satisfied and just cash his checks and put up 19 and 8, or he can use it as a little extra to push him and his Memphis squad to a different level.

The Grizzlies weren't far off last season. Behind Gay's improved play, Memphis made a small playoff push for a time. The talent is there for Rudy. Actually, he's got more than enough talent. His issue is that on some nights, he disappears. He goes from dropping 25 on Tuesday to 10 on Wednesday. When he starts to put it all together, he has the makings of a star. It's easy to forget that he's just 24.

Danny Granger, Pacers - Over the past two seasons, Granger has averaged 25.8 ppg and 24.1 ppg . He shot over 44 percent from the field and over 36 percent from 3. He also averaged over five rebounds just as an extra.

Yet in the world of small forward talk, Granger gets left out. He's one of the top scorers in the league, yet most forget about him. That to me, is the definition of a breakout player waiting to happen.

Much like these other guys, Granger has been playing for a team that's not winning. Tough to be a recognized star when your team stinks. The Pacers might not be good this year, but they certainly should be better. And if Granger is the man leading that charge, maybe he starts to get a bit more recognition. The points are there. He scores at basically the same clip Carmelo Anthony has during his career. Now it's just about people seeing it.

Since: May 12, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2010 5:33 pm

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

Watch the way u talk there buddy.  Another arrogant New Yorker who can't see past his own ego? Listen Stern is a jerk but shut ur mouth like you know anything about New Yorkers other than what u read and hear.  Cuz i could come back around and call you another suicidal douche bag from Seattle.  Stop bitching.  If people were as excited as you to see Durant, they woulda went to games.  All it takes it one player to bring people to the seats.  Just like Durant did in Oklahoma where the fans actually appreciate the team and show up.  If you got a problem with that, blame your city, not the owner.  But hey, at least u got the Sounders...dolt.

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2010 3:41 pm

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

I hope that Rudy Gay will live up to the hype. He is a great player some nights and then he takes a night off. He can be great. Derrick Rose has a chance to play in his hometown and be the star of that team. They have retooled and look good on paper. Now it is time to show and prove . Kevin Durant is the future of the NBA. His drive and will to win is going to carry his team far. Evans has the making of a good combo guard and now has a few more pieces on his team. We just have to wait and see how things play out .

Since: Aug 5, 2008
Posted on: September 14, 2010 2:24 pm

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

In the process he gained high first round draft picks and got the low attendance he needed to show substantial losses because of the record from gutting the team.
Hilarious. He didn't hold guns to people's heads and tell them to stay away from the crappy arena. Seattle simply proved they're a community of fairweather fans.

David Stern at some point needs to stop being a filthy villian and do what's right which is give Seattle a team.
Seattle is the whiniest, most bitter city who has lost a team in any professional sport. I thought Baltimore was bad when they lost the Colts, but Seattle has taken the "jilted ex-lover" act to a completely different level. I wouldn't blame the NBA for NEVER granting Seattle an expansion team. And, even worse, Seattle looks like a very unfriendly city to franchise owners.

This probably sounds like just a bunch of crying but now two of the rising stars in the NBA are in a different city and can no longer be enjoyed by the city that endured the losing that got them on the same team.
I promise you that it sounds like a bunch of crying.

Since: Sep 23, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2010 2:09 pm

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

Haha Jazz fans a so bitter.  Going from playoff contender to not even going to make the playoffs this year.  I guess I would be a hater too.

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: September 14, 2010 1:47 pm

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

This is just another reason why Clay "The Snake" Bennett is the most evil man in America (or on a long list anyway).  He gutted the team while in Seattle and alienated the fan base.  In the process he gained high first round draft picks and got the low attendance he needed to show substantial losses because of the record from gutting the team.  Presti has now put together a great team with good picks and smart additions to supliment the draftees.  I was a Sonics fan my whole life and when they drafted Kevin Durant it was the most I had been excited about the team since the Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton days.  Then it was all ripped away and now Oklahoma City gets to enjoy a team built in Seattle and loved in Seattle.  David Stern at some point needs to stop being a filthy villian and do what's right which is give Seattle a team.  He runs the NBA like it's his own personal toy acts as though he is a king but all he really is is just another arrogant New Yorker who can't see past his own ego.  This probably sounds like just a bunch of crying but now two of the rising stars in the NBA are in a different city and can no longer be enjoyed by the city that endured the losing that got them on the same team.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: September 14, 2010 12:14 pm

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

Brandon Jennings is missing from this list.  Although Evans won ROY; I felt Jennings was more deserving.  Really easy to put up nice stats on a team going nowhere (Kings) vs a team that is vying for a playoff spot (Bucks).  Also, Jennings has alot more to deal with when it came to injuries to key players.  Jennings will break out this year.

I also think Beasley could have break-out season this year under far less pressure in Minny; assuming he sees enough action.  This kid is talented and without the pressure and a new change of scenery could be exactly what he needs.  Miami may regret quickly overpaying Miller and giving away Beasley so easily.

Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: September 14, 2010 12:11 pm

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

Durant is the man! GO THUNDER!!!

Since: Sep 9, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2010 9:21 am

Choose Jordan shoes, that's right

, according to NBC said that Michael Jordan made the myth of wealth is very striking: the Jordan brand in 2009 earnings for the first time exceeded one billion U.S. dollars, the income of U.S. $ NIKE moreone billion within 23 years after the numbers (very beautiful), that is the mark of Jordan did.

and cooperation has long been a commercial to promote the development of the myth, even if Keystone retired six years and a half, but Jordan Brand has never stopped the pace of expansion, which represents nearly 5% of the total Nike sales.

Currently occupied U.S. market share of 10.8% of footwear sold outside the United States in addition to the second brand nike shoes,, Adidas sales almost double.

Since: Jun 10, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2010 3:42 am

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

How about O.J Mayo??

This guy had tons of hype when he came into the NBA. He he gonna be an average NBA SG for his entire career? Im not really sure whats holding Mayo back, i think it could be the lack of chemistry for the entire Memphis team. Im not even sure if id consider OJ a top 10 NBA SG. And i think he has too much talent to just be an average NBA player.

Since: Sep 8, 2007
Posted on: September 14, 2010 12:08 am

Pop Quiz: Who's ready to break out?

Russell Westbrook made tremendous improvement from his rookie season that was filled with turnovers, but once he got used to the speed of the NBA he was virtually unstoppable last year in his second year. Last year against the Lake Show in the playoffs he made Derek Fisher look like a sloth. 

What I noticed the most between year 1 and year 2 for Westbrook was two-fold:  1: Far less turnovers. 2: Far more driving to the hoop with the option to dish, dunk, or stop on a dime and swish an 8-foot jump shot. 

The Thunder has great team chemistry, and they are going to get better and better if the nucleus sticks together.  I am confident Sam Presti is smart enough to make sure he signs Westbrook to a long-term, Kevin-Durant-style deal.

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